Increasing public concern about health and weight management has led to demand for ice cream products that allow consumers to “indulge without guilt”, Belgian ingredients manufacturer Cosucra has claimed.
According to a report by the company, ice cream manufacturers in the US and Europe are increasingly marketing their products using “passive” health claims to pacify these consumer concerns.
Many now market their ice cream innovations using terms such as low or reduced fat, low calorie, and reduced sugar, said the report Yummy & Healthy Innovations in Ice Creams.
Major health trends such as lactose-free and natural will also help to shape the future of ice cream innovation, said the report.
It added, however, that ice cream products are first and foremost purchased and consumed as “treats” - so indulgence must remain the manufacturer’s priority.
“Healthy indulgence” ice cream concepts
“Health claims are mostly ‘passive’ claims, such as low/reduced fat, low calorie/light or claims in relation with sugar reduction,” said the report by Cosucra.
“Indeed, increasing concerns about weight management and diabetes have led manufacturers to develop products that help consumers to indulge without guilt by cutting calories, fat and/or sugars.”
The report added, however, that indulgence must remain the priority for ice cream manufacturers.
“Low-fat, reduced-sugar or lactose-free alone is good, but sugar-reduced with a decadent chocolate flavour sounds more attractive. Idem with fat reduction: what’s more enjoyable than a low-fat ice cream with, in addition, a rich and creamy texture?”
“Considering this, and the fact that health is becoming a global concern, we think that ‘healthy indulgence’ concepts in ice creams cannot do anything but increase in Europe,” said the report.
FroYo – healthier alternative to ice cream
A perfect example of this “healthy indulgence” concept is frozen yogurt, according to the document.
Frozen yogurt – or FroYo - is seen as a healthier alternative to ice cream. Products typically boast to lower levels of fat and higher levels of calcium.
In 2011, the US frozen yogurt sector held an 8.5% value share of the North American ice cream market, said the report. The product is yet to take off in Europe, but “interest is growing.”
“The trend has taken several years to cross the ocean and the FroYo segment is still in its infancy in Europe and Asia. However, there are signs that interest is growing,” said the report.